Aston Villa chief Dean Smith makes prediction ahead of Sheffield Wednesday showdown
Aston Villa boss Dean Smith expects their forthcoming duel with play-off rivals Sheffield Wednesday to be a "tight" affair.
Sixth-placed Villa will be searching for a sixth successive Championship victory when they visit the Owls on Saturday.
Victory for Wednesday, who are currently on a 12-match unbeaten run, would see Steve Bruce's side move to within a point of Villa with six games to go.
Speaking at his press briefing today, Smith, who spent two seasons as a player at Hillsborough, becoming captain in the process, said: "Our places in the table make it a really intriguing game.
"For ourselves, it's just about thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition – and how we can hurt them.
"We've just got to look to get the better of them on the day. They've gone 11 unbeaten and look very organised.
"They've got good players coming back from injury themselves so it's going to be tight.
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"It will be a good crowd. We've sold out our tickets behind the goal.
"We are looking forward to it while being respectful of what they have got."
Despite Villa's stellar form and surge up the table, Smith is refusing to get carried away.
"There are seven games to go and a lot of points to play for," said Smith, who has confirmed midfielder Tom Carroll has returned to his parent club Swansea City after undergoing season-ending hip surgery. "Anyone can go and put a run in at any time.
"We just have to concentrate on our own game. I know that's a bit boring – but we just have to see where it takes us."